In a conversation with Esquire’s JR Havlan, poker pro Daniel Negreanu picks up on Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s tells:
Havlan: You mentioned Hillary’s smile, which is her go-to reaction when Trump is saying terrible stuff about her. Is it her main tell?
Negreanu: Well, when she gets a little bit nervous she tends to giggle or cackle a little bit and I would say that is her biggest tell. She’s masking weakness by pretending to laugh it off. Another is that she begins to choose her words more carefully. You can see that she’s thinking a lot. When [I believe] she’s lying, she looks up and her eyes are up to the left like she’s searching for the right words and trying to make sure that she doesn’t step into it.
Havlan: And what would you say is Donald Trump’s main tell? Or does he even realize when he’s lying?
Negreanu: It’s a combination. Donald Trump doesn’t have significant tells when he’s lying because truth and lies to him are kind of homogenized. He’s such a pro at it that you don’t see a lot of divergence in his body language when he’s lying or telling the truth. It’s just constant bullshit. He’s probably a very good bluffer. As far as specific tells for Donald Trump, he has so many that it’s hard to even get started, but one stands out. When Trump’s challenged on things, you’ll notice sometimes his chin raises and he looks up and feigns confidence. It’s similar to when an ape in the forest beats his chest to say “Look at me. I’m tough” but he’s actually pretty nervous. Many of his other tells are obvious. He doesn’t hold them back. He’s just too expressive with his emotions.
Havlan: So one of his main tells is that he literally just tells you what he’s thinking.
Negreanu: They’re just so blatant. Everyone knows what that face means. There’s a GIF from the third debate that was very telling. At the end there’s a close-up on Donald where he’s ripping up his notepad and you can see that he’s clearly annoyed, because he’s not happy with how it turned out. But then he looks up and notices the camera on him and all of a sudden the chin lifts up and he stares the camera down—it’s the beating-his-chest moment where he realizes he’s got to put on his “I’m the greatest” face.